We all want perfectly straight, white teeth, right? It's easy to forget that this is probably just the style of the moment. As our great grandchildren look back at our old fashioned Facebook profile pictures, they may well laugh at how ridiculous our current smiles look. Throughout history, and across the world, perceptions of beauty and perfection are many and varied when it comes to teeth.
Going back over 2000 years, the Mayans would carve out recesses in their front teeth to insert small pieces of jade. In late 1800's Japan it was a trend for women to use an iron based dye to paint their teeth a lovely shade of black. That seems unattractive to us, but big, straight, white teeth can be taken too far as well. I've heard the adage that married couples eventually start to look like each other, but there's nothing natural about the way Michael Douglas and Catherine Zeta-Jones now have identical teeth. A beautiful smile is all about working with your skin tone, facial proportions, and lip contour to create something that looks great but natural. Cookie cutter teeth make it look like you've got dentures, and I think some celebrities are yet to realise that!
The opposite of piano key teeth is the desire to make your smile unique. Something simple like a small crystal or gold star, (designed for the purpose), bonded on to a front tooth by a dentist can look great. I don't recommend anything green or yellow though, unless you want people constantly telling you there's food stuck in your teeth!
I've also come across many older patients who have chosen gold restorations for a front tooth rather than white. For some people it becomes a part of the personality of their smile. Even to the point that when their teeth have needed extraction because of disease, they have the same shape gold restoration added into their artificial denture teeth.
Always a bit quirky when it comes to fashion, there's a current trend in Japan for crowded front teeth. Known as "Yaeba", it's the look created when there's not quite enough room for all the upper front teeth, so the canines stick out like "snaggleteeth". It's a desire to look youthful gone to the extreme, as it's the appearance some children have when their large adult teeth are a bit too big for their still growing face.
It's at the point where women are seeking treatment from dentists to bond on artificial facings to make their canines stick out. It's been suggested that the fad may also have something to do with the world's current, (but rapidly fading), obsession with vampires. It seems ridiculous to me, but then I have a very different idea of what makes a smile attractive.
I think about the lengths I've gone to to change they way my teeth look. 1 & 1/2 years of braces as a teenager. A lifetime of wearing retainers at night to keep my teeth straight. Enamel micro-abrasion and whitening to even out and lighten up slightly discoloured enamel. Next I'm going to bond a tiny crystal on one of my front teeth, just for fun... :) All this for teeth that are otherwise healthy and functional; I'm in no position to judge anyone that wants to change the appearance of their teeth! Our smiles are a big part of our appearance, and like it or not, people will always want to change they way they look. I wonder what the next dental fad will be...